Abahani coach Mario Lemos said that he felt as if Abahani were playing against local club Rahmatganj MFS after a come-from-behind 2-2 draw against Maziya of Maldives in the home match of preliminary round-2 of AFC Cup at the Bangabandhu National Stadium yesterday.
Last edition’s zonal semifinalists Abahani frustrated the home crowd after putting up a below-par performance, especially compared to their performances from last season when they notched three wins and a draw.
“I expected a little bit better from Abahani today and I’m really disappointed with the way the boys played despite having nearly a month of training. I believe we can do better,” said a frustrated Lemos, who guided Abahani in last AFC Cup too.
“I did not feel that the players were playing with enough energy which is really important to play a big match. It seemed like they were playing against Rahmatganj. If you don’t have energy, you will get punished. It is a shame because I really focused on many things in training and tried to show the players it was a big match,” said the Portuguese.
Replying to a query, Lemos said, “Abahani looked a little bit like playing ‘away match’. I felt we were always waiting to see what will happen in the game. We did not take the responsibility, rather we waited to see what happens. The boys reacted after conceding goals and this is not how to play football. I don’t know why they reacted like this,” said Lemos.
The Portuguese coach was also disappointed with the way the forwards reacted in the attacking third as they missed some goal-scoring chances.
“If you don’t play with intensity, you can’t score goals. What happened in the match is that Jibon played Sunday and Sunday played another player. If you don’t have intensity and speed, you can’t beat two foreign central defenders in the match,” said Lemos.
His counterpart Marjan Sekulovski was happy to have shared points, especially after having scored two away goals.
“Today we played a good game and scored two away goals though we had the opportunity to score three to four goals. We are satisfied with the result but our job is not done yet. We expect to finish our job in Male because our target is to play in the next round,” said the Macedonian.